Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
We might call today “hospitality Sunday.” Our Gospel story is the familiar account of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. Martha sounds a lot like my Italian grandmother. I remember how, as a child growing up in the house where my grandmother lived, I would watch her prepare for Sunday company. Guests who came to our house would be the center of attention. My grandmother would work feverishly before the guests arrived to prepare the meal. During the meal she would fuss at them, to make sure they had enough to eat—of every dish on the table. Woe to you if you failed to sample everything my grandmother had prepared! She imitated Martha’s busy concern for guests, making sure they had all they needed.
But there’s another side of hospitality besides fussing over the food or accommodations for a guest. It’s taking the time to listen, to give the other our full attention. Last Sunday, the story of the Good Samaritan urged us to take a risk to become involved with others as a true neighbor. Today we have the “how-to” of Christian neighborliness. In our parishes, neighborhoods and city, we need both dimensions of Christian hospitality: actively serving while we seek to truly listen and understand.
The first reading from Genesis tells how Abraham was kind and provided for the need of his three visitors. But who had to do most of the work? The cooking and so forth?
What did one of the visitors promise Abraham that Sarah would already have when he returned next year?
In this week's second reading, St. Paul says that he rejoices in his sufferings for the sake of the people in Colossae. Why is he happy about that?
What does St. Paul tell the Colossians that God has done for them?
Jesus visits Martha and Mary, in this week's Gospel. What does Martha want Jesus to do for her?
How does Jesus respond to Martha’s request?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
If you are blessed to still have your grandparents living, spend some time sitting and talking with them. Or you can talk to an aunt, uncle, or your parents. You might even consider recording the conversations. Ask about their memories of certain major events that took place during their lifetimes.
Often, parents end up taking on the role of Martha. Try switching up the roles and have the kids take the lead on doing things, such as chores or even preparing dinner and cleaning up afterward. That way, the parents get a bit of a break.
We are all very busy but we need to slow down sometimes. Schedule at least a half an hour of quiet time during each day this week.